It’s OK to feel disappointed with New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello, but he deserves some time before the question about replacing him starts.
It’s absolutely fair to critique New York Islanders President and GM Lou Lamoriello. We’re basically in August now and the New York Islanders roster has not improved over last season. You could even argue that the Islanders got worse with the goalie swap between Robin Lehner and Semyon Varlamov.
There’s certainly been enough to critique Lamoriello over the past six months. From a trade deadline that saw no trades, to the Isles being used as a bargaining chip between Artemi Panarin and the New York Rangers, to playing hardball with Vezina finalist Robin Lehner, and then not using the free agency period to strengthen the roster.
Lou was clearly looking to add a top-six player by chasing Artemi Panarin, but after missing out he seemingly decided to look internally for any upgrades to the roster. I get that Artemi Panarin is a great one-of-a-kind player, and if you can get him you go for it and figure out what to do later. But the notion of adding a top-level player just vanished when Panarin decided to go to the Rangers.
It’s a long list of critiques in a short span of time. And it’s getting to fans. But in this “what have you done for me lately” era, it’s important to remember Lou orchestrated a 103 point season and a playoff series victory in year one.
Again, critiquing Lou is fair. What has he done so far this offseason to improve the roster? What has he said about his plan this offseason for the Islanders to be as successful as they were last season? Nothing.
Then we see teams within our own conference make moves to address whatever weaknesses they had. The New Jersey Devils added players like P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds, and Nikita Gusev. The Flyers re-tooled by adding Kevin Hayes and a few other depth moves. The Rangers traded for Jacob Trouba and acquired Artemi Panarin. The Hurricanes added Ryan Dzingel.
The New York Islanders have done nothing.
The feeling of missing out is real for us. Almost every team in the division has tried to address their gaps leading into the 2019-20 season while the New York Islanders are going to ice practically the same roster they had in 2018-19.
Which has earned Lou Lamoriello some significant criticism, including some shouts that he shouldn’t be in the job any longer?
I get the frustration with the lack of movement from Lou. But saying he isn’t right for the job anymore is some serious recency bias. We can’t forget that under Lou’s leadership, the Islanders had their first successful season in three years and won only their second playoff series in 25 years.
He’s earned time before the pitchforks and torches start getting awoken from their post-Garth Snow slumber. We don’t know what the plan is for this season exactly. Until we know for sure, and until we see it fail calling for his job is premature.
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I understand that it seems like the New York Islanders may in fact be worse this season. I have the same questions. But I’m not anywhere near calling for Lou to be replaced as GM.